March Meeting Recap: The Impact of SB 827 and SB 828

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By Carlie Leduc, HANC Board Member

At our March meeting we were lucky to have with us Ozzie Rohm from Noe Neighborhood Council and Lisa Fromer from Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association.  They were with us to discuss SB 827 & SB 828, two California Senate Bills proposed by Scott Wiener that would disproportionately impact San Francisco.

 

 

SB 827 would remove local controls throughout California from all development in “transit-rich” areas.  “Transit-rich” is defined by areas within one half-mile of transit that arrives at least once every 15 minutes during peak hours.  This impacts nearly all of San Francisco and could mean significant neighborhood changes. To say the least, this would remove any restrictions on height, number of dwellings per lot, floor area ratios, minimum parking requirements, and design guidelines.  Under SB 827, there would be no opportunities for the public (neighborhood) to voice their opinions and influence development. This bill would cause property values to skyrocket and it would encourage property owners to evict tenants, causing even further displacement of San Francisco residents.

This bill fails to take into account the impacts this would have on infrastructure or the environment.  Our current infrastructure is maxed out and the bill would not provide funding to expand our current services (water and sewer, utilities, public transit, highways, roads, bridges, public schools, emergency services, etc). Regarding environmental impact, this would eliminate CEQA & climate change impacts.  It would also cause more traffic congestion, decreased air and water quality, more noise pollution, less mid-block open space, not to mention public health impacts.

SB 827 does include certain displacement protections that sound great.  It bans the demolition of all renter-occupied housing unless all moving expenses for tenants moving into and out of interim dwellings are paid while the project is being built. It provides up to 42 months of rental assistance to cover the full rent of an available, comparable unit in the area.  While these may seem like great tenant protections, there are no repercussions to developers if they do not follow these protections. Illegal demolition is already a city issue that isn’t enforced, and there is no evidence to show that this bill would do anything to prevent this from becoming an even more expansive problem.

While some people may see San Francisco housing as a supply and demand issue, we do not have any examples of comparable cities where that has been the case.  SB 827 would create more market-rate housing, but it would not create additional below market rate (BMR) housing. It would also encourage the demolition of properties that currently fall under rent control, making San Francisco an even more expensive place to live.

SB 828 would double the minimum requirements for RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation).  San Francisco currently meets and exceeds its market rate RHNA goals. While we are behind on our BMR RHNA goals, most developers do not take advantage of that because then 50% of their building would need to be dedicated to BMR housing.  By doubling the RHNA requirements, San Francisco would then fall behind on its quotas, meaning SB 35 would take effect on all construction projects. This again means that would remove any shot of locals having a voice in neighborhood developments and it would remove any local control of new building projects.

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